Backstage at the Egyptian: Interview with Ralph Sherman

Interview Conducted by: Kevin Ray – Egyptian Theatre Intern

Ralph is the producer, director and the master of ceremonies for the Kishwaukee Kiwanis Community Talent show that will be on April 1st at the Egyptian Theatre. I had a chance to interview Ralph about the upcoming event and why he chose to have it at the Egyptian Theatre.

Kevin: Tell me a little bit about the Community Talent Show?

Ralph: This is our first community talent show. It is intended to provide a showcase for local talent and is not a contest. It is an opportunity to share their talent and at the same time, help raise money for local charities.

Kevin:  What are you looking forward to most about this show?

Ralph: I would hope the show can accomplish both of our goals and at the same time, make the community more aware of our Kiwanis club.  The Kishwaukee Kiwanis club was formed in 1969 and has approximately 55 members. We are a service club, meaning that we provide services for our community in the form of raising monies for charity, especially for charities that serve children and helping with community projects, such as the Corn Boil.


Kevin: Why did you choose to have this event held at the Egyptian Theatre?

Ralph: We chose the Egyptian Theatre because of it’s location and the historical nature of the theatre. That it could provide seating for 1,400 was also appealing. We wanted to bring more entertainment to the downtown area.

Kevin:  What can the audience expect?

Ralph: I feel the audience can expect to see a local talent show that is suitable for family entertainment. It will be a fast moving two hour show of singers, dancers, musicians, comedians, and even tumblers.

Kevin:  Is this the first of many future community talent shows?

Ralph: Whether we will have more talent shows will depend upon the success and acceptance of this first show. I had a leading role in 16 similar shows in Joliet, IL. and was the producer/director of six more and brought the idea to the club about a year and a half ago. We formed a committee to “explore the possibility of this kind of show” and after six months of intensive study and meetings, the club decided to support the concept of this show.

Kevin: Can you tell me about the Kishwaukee Kiwanis?

Ralph: I was fortunate to serve as the first President of the Kishwaukee Kiwanis club that was formed as a noon meeting club in 1969. Kiwanis as an organization is well over a 100 years old and has approximately 250,000 members worldwide that conduct similar fund raising projects in their communities. We meet every Wednesday noon for luncheon at Faranda’s in DeKalb and the meeting concludes at 1:00 P.M. If anyone, male or female, is interested in getting more information about our club and Kiwanis, they are invited to be our guest and attend our meeting.  We now have three club projects to raise these funds; our annual Peanut Day sales, Biking with Beanzie and this show. Together, whatever funds are raised are put back into the community to help other non-profit organizations.

Tickets are still available. Click the picture below to purchase tickets.


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Backstage at the Egyptian: Interview with Mel Witmer

Interview Conducted by: Kevin Ray – Egyptian Theatre Intern

Mel Witmer is the owner of O’Leary’s Ale House in Downtown DeKalb. I had a chance to interview him about his Pub & Grill as well as the show they are partnering with us for Friday March 24th Gaelic Storm.

Kevin: So Mel, tell me a little bit about the history of O’Learys?

Mel: We originally started in Dixon, Illinois in 2000. I always had a passion to open up an O’Leary’s brand because my mothers maiden name is O’Leary. I come from a long bloodline of Irish. I always loved the theme of the Irish. They are well spirited with great jokes, and just an all around great group of folks.


Kevin: What are some of your favorite memories of Gaelic Storm’s performances here at the Egyptian Theatre?

Mel: You know, I’m always sensitive to the first one. That was my first impression of what they were all about. Gaelic Storm has a cult like following, they have fans that will follow them around everywhere. They always make sure their shows are affordable, and I really like that about them because they are so humble and down to earth. They always come back to O’Leary’s after the concert to sign autographs and be very interactive with the fans. It really has turned into a friendship where we keep in contact with them.

Kevin: How has the Egyptian Theatre benefited your business?

Mel: The Egyptian Theatre has always benefited my business. When there is activity at the Egyptian Theatre, all of the businesses benefit. Alex has taken things to the next level and has been instrumental in the success of that theatre. It is a very unique theatre because there are not many of them like it. I think it is unfortunate that people who have grown up in DeKalb County have never gotten the chance to experience the magic this theatre has to offer.

Kevin: What are you looking forward to most for this show?

Mel: I am looking forward to the large groups of people that will be having social happiness, and getting to know and getting along with other people who they may have not met yet. It is a giant party where everyone is making new friends and celebrating with old friends. I always look forward to all of it, they bring a little bit of a twist to it every year.

Kevin:  If you could pick any show or performer to see at the Egyptian Theatre, who would it be and why?

Mel: I sure do love Ron White. He was such a great character. I think who ever comes to the Egyptian attracts multiple demographic and I think that is very important because it brings people together who would normally not be around each other.

Click here to learn more about O’Leary’s Ale House

Tickets are still available for Gaelic Storm. Click picture below to purchase tickets.

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Backstage at the Egyptian: Interview with Hannah Whitten

Interview conducted by: Kevin Ray – Egyptian Theatre Intern

Hannah is a dancer for the Beth Fowler Dance Company. She is performing as Princess Aurora in the upcoming show Sleeping Beauty here at the Egyptian Theatre. I had the amazing opportunity to interview here about the upcoming show.

Kevin: Tell me a little bit about your dancing background Hannah?

Hannah: I have been dancing since I was 4 years old, and I started dance at Beth Fowler’s  when I was 6. I do styles like ballet, lyrical, contemporary, hip hop, and modern. I also used to do tap. Since entering the company I have danced a lot of roles; in Cinderella I was the fall fairy, in the Nutcracker I have been the Angel soloist, Candy Cane Queen, Rose Queen, and this past year I was the Sugarplum Fairy (my dream role since I was little) and finally in our upcoming production Sleepy Beauty I am the lead, Aurora.

Kevin: How long have you been with the Beth Fowler Dance Company and what has been your favorite part of the experience?

Hannah:  I’ve been in the Beth Fowler Dance Company for the last 4 years now. With this being my last year in the company I am very excited to be performing the roles I have been given. My favorite part of the experience has been the people I share it with. Our company feels like one big family, we support each other in everything we do, and I love them all; every student and every teacher.

Kevin: What are you looking forward to most about performing at the Egyptian Theatre?

Hannah: What I am looking forward to most about performing at the Egyptian Theatre is the thrill I get when dancing on it’s stage. The Egyptian stage has been my way to put my passion out to the world since I was 6 and I want to keep sharing that passion on it’s stage for the rest of my life.

Kevin: What do you hope the audience walks away with after the show?

Hannah: After the show I hope the audience will come out feeling like they just witnessed the famous Disney princess, Aurora, truly came to life. That I was able to give them the best performance I could give them.

Tickets still available. Click link below to purchase tickets.


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Backstage at the Egyptian: Interview with Matt Duffy

Interview conducted by: Kevin Ray – Egyptian Theatre Intern

Matt Duffy is the Executive Director of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce. I had a chance to interview him about the upcoming Candidates Night they are hosting at the Egyptian Theatre.

The spring 2017 Candidates Night will be held Wednesday, March 8 for the City of DeKalb Mayor and Alderman candidates and Thursday, March 9 for the DeKalb School Board and DeKalb Park District candidates.  Meet and greet in the lobby with candidates starts at 5:30 PM each night with the forum starting in the theatre at 6:30 PM.  The event is open and free to the public.

Kevin: Why is it important to have this event at the Egyptian Theatre?

Matt: It’s a great venue to provide for a meet and greet, on-stage forum and broadcast it on the radio.

Kevin: Why is the partnership between the Egyptian Theatre and the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce so important?

Matt: The DeKalb Chamber has worked with the Egyptian Theatre on a variety of events and programs over the years to provide valuable information for the community. Utilizing this local gem while providing a benefit to the community is a win-win for everyone.

Kevin:  Why does the chamber host the candidates night?

Matt: The DeKalb Chamber wants to educate the voters of the community on the decisions made in our elections.

Kevin: How does the Egyptian Theatre provide value to chamber members?

Matt: The value to our members is seen in a variety of ways. The increased traffic of people coming to events while also dining and shopping and having DeKalb as a destination, is a tremendous asset to the Chamber and the community.

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Backstage at the Egyptian: Interview with Vicky Torres

Interview Conducted by: Kevin Ray – Egyptian Theatre Intern

Vicky Torres is the Hotel Manager/Director of Sales at the Red Roof Inn in DeKalb. The Egyptian Theatre is proud of the many successful relationships with local businesses. This week we got a chance to talk with one of our hotel partners about the impact of the Egyptian Theatre.

Kevin: So Vicky, tell me a little bit about the Red Roof Inn?

Vicky: Red Roof Inn & Suites DeKalb is a combination of modern facilities, attentive service and convenience to downtown DeKalb. We are  located 1 mile from the Egyptian Theatre.

Kevin: How has your business been affected by the shows that come into town at the Egyptian Theatre?

Vicky: Anytime the Egyptian Theatre has an event we benefit. Whether it’s a local dance company,  Gaelic Storm, Rick Springfied,  OCB body building  competition, Ron White, or Todd Oliver.

Kevin:  Why do you think it is important to preserve the history of the Egyptian Theatre?

Vicky: All of these groups plus many more have stayed at the Red Roof Inn & Suites at one time or another. We have had several performers comment about the quaint, intimate atmosphere and it’s historical beauty. Life long memories are made at the Egyptian Theatre.

To see the listing of all of our hotel partners visit our lodging page for more information and to book your next stay in DeKalb.

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